iron from clay

Uncle Al,
I had an encouraging initial result yesterday. I weighed out my black oxide (37 gms, which I suspect might actually be FE3O4) then mixed in what seemed the right amount of aluminum dust. It burned fast and hot. The iron came out in about 5 chunks chunks, which I fused together with an arc between to carbon electrodes. You can see the result at:
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This is enough iron to forge into a ring or a coin, but now I'm getting turned on to this whole project: I want to forge, if not a sword of Damascus-type steel, at least a small knife.
I guess the next part of this project will be to build a proper furnace for use in heating and forging my iron.
I should have photographed the black oxide particles under my microscope. The particles appear to me to be sized at about 100 microns, max, and typically about half that size. I'm wondering how it formed in that way. I'm also wondering what portion of it might be relatively recent, i.e., having fallen from the sky. I'd appreciate any thoughts on this.
Bob
Reply to
Bob
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sophisticated
That seems to have happened with the HCl.
Right. Bu then I wouldn't get the knowledge of how to get iron out of the ground. This is sort of a philosophical project, one related to materials, or to materials science.
You can see the chunk of iron I got yesterday, using the thermite method, at:
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It's enough to make some small thing, but what you wrote earlier about getting several pounds or iron is interesting to me.
I wrote that wrong: 'magnetic chunks of alumina.'
This is going to happen in my back yard sometime this summer . . .
thanks.
Bob
Reply to
Bob
I googled 'microwave foundry.' I'm going to get a used oven for this project. Much thanks for this lead. BTW, check out the little chunk of iron I got yesterday, using the thermite on 37 grams of pretty pure black oxide.
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(I purified the oxide by sliding a rare-earth magnet on the top side of a horizontal sheet of paper while the 'ore' slid back and forth on the bottom side; the non-ferrous stuff just dropped right out.)
Bob
Reply to
Bob
Indeed, this was my original plan -- to do it the way our ancestors did it. It seems, though, that I am going to be working my way backwards toward the early methods. Thermite is so simple, right now; and electrolysis might be interesting to try.
Bob
Reply to
Bob
ahh... caught up in playing with the technology :-) have fun; as a source of amusement I definitely recommend the microwave foundry
Reply to
Michael
A friend of mine has gotten on to knife making. He's made a few firebrick forges that consist of a firebrick with a hole drilled the long way to put the metal in, intersecting a hole drilled the short way for the propane torch. It heats the metal cherry red without a problem.
Reply to
Gregory L. Hansen
Worth considering. But I'd worry that propane might not be sufficiently reducing, as say with charcoal heat.
I will look into the importance of having a reducing atmosphere in heating the iron/steel for forging. Thanks.
Bob
Reply to
Bob
Same scheme with an acetylene torch running oxygen lean.
Reply to
jimp
nice one. You can build a house with that stuff.
NT
Reply to
bigcat
You don't have to melt it. You can work it hot. The first iron/steel swords were hammered together from smaller pieces.
Reply to
pete
Problem is that it's so small that it cools down on the steel anvil each time I hit it . . .
Bob
Reply to
Bob

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